Redevelopment of Old College

The Old College

The Old College

19 January 2016

Aberystwyth University will be hosting a public meeting on Thursday 21 January to provide an update on its plans for the redevelopment of Old College.

In December 2015 the University submitted its plans for the redevelopment of Old College to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The submission to apply for £9.93 million towards the full project costs of £19.47 million was developed by the University along with the New Life for Old College Project Board, which brought together members of the University Council, University staff, and representatives from Ceredigion County Council, Aberystwyth Town Council, Aberystwyth Students’ Union and the Old Students Association.

And the bid has received the blessing of renowned Welsh artist Mary Lloyd Jones who has created new works of art to celebrate and promote the rebirth of the iconic building.

Originally built as a hotel, Old College welcomed its first cohort of students in 1872 following a tremendous fundraising campaign across Wales to help buy the building and establish within it the first University of Wales College.

A Grade I listed building, Old College is recognised as one of the UK’s most significant nineteenth-century buildings, in Gothic revival style.

The plans are designed to restore it to its former glory, and transform it into a thriving centre for heritage, learning, and enterprise for town and gown, attracting an audience nationwide and internationally.

Works are expected to be completed in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University said: “The work of The New Life for Old College Project Board has been informed by the input of the local community and we are delighted with the response received at the various meetings and functions held as part of the process of developing these exciting plans. These have helped us to identify needs and opportunities for re-purposing the building, and to inform our decision to open up over 75% of it to the public alongside student teaching and support facilities. We want to encourage closer ‘town/gown’ relationships and to provide a fantastic facility for showcasing learning, research and enterprise opportunities that will inspire users and visitors and boost the economy.”

The public meeting takes place on Thursday 21 January 2016 from 17.30 in Old College, King Street, Aberystwyth. All welcome – no prior booking required.

This will be the last in a series of public events held as part of the initial consultation prior to a final assessment visit by the Heritage Lottery Fund in March 2016.

Further consultation will take place following the outcome of the Heritage Lottery bid which is expected in the spring of 2016.

Under the proposals, the ‘new’ Old College will be home to:

•        A visitor experience  that interprets the University’s heritage collections and archives through exhibitions, activities and events, art and music and performance and acts as a knowledge-exchange and learning hub for the University, schools, community and visitors.  We will collaborate with our local community, and with regional and national partners, such as the National Library of Wales, Ceredigion Museum and the National Museums Wales, on exhibitions and festival of scientific, heritage and artistic interest.  We will focus in particular on young people and groups traditionally underrepresented in this environment;

•        Bookable rooms and flexible hospitality packages for daytime and evening public/private meetings, events, performances, conferences and functions;

•        Leasable spaces for young entrepreneurs, artists and start-up companies from the community and University;

•        A well-equipped makerspace enabling students and the wider community to fully engage with the emerging maker movement;

•        Flexible teaching/study spaces for interdisciplinary initiatives, such as learning and skills to support jobseekers into employment, and a centre for regional Welsh for Adults;

•        Student support and welfare facilities, including the University’s Centre for Widening Participation, Equality and Social Inclusion;

•        Catering, hospitality and retail facility for students, community, visitors and events, focusing on local and Welsh products.